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Unsurprisingly, none of the Chicago Cubs’ current starting pitchers wants to leave the rotation in favor of the bullpen. But of course, the current predicament is a problem of the Cubs’ own making, after moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen earlier this year upon Ted Lilly’s return from off-season shoulder surgery, and subsequently announcing that Zambrano would return to the rotation.

Following his first truly brutal outing of the year last night, Tom Gorzelanny is a popular suggestion for the odd man out in the rotation – and he’s not too happy about it.

”I don’t feel like I deserve … to go to the pen,” said Gorzelanny, who looks like the guy the Cubs will move to the bullpen to make room for Zambrano’s return to the rotation, barring an injury between now and Sunday.

”I feel like I’ve pitched well enough and done well enough this year to deserve to be in the rotation. I feel that whatever they choose to do, hopefully it’s the right reason. Whatever they ask me to do I’ll do. I can’t have much say in the matter.

”But do I think I deserve to be put in the pen? No, I don’t.”

Manager Lou Piniella wouldn’t confirm who the odd man out will be but said the decision has all but been made: ”The only thing that can change is if there’s an injury or something, and we’re hoping that’s not the case.”

Carlos Silva (6-0) already had been ruled out, in part because the shoulder problems that sidelined him much of last season don’t mix well with the irregular, day-to-day demands of bullpen work.

Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells also seem off the board for various reasons.

Which lands the issue on the head of the left-hander who has pitched as well as anyone in the rotation, taking the starting staff’s best ERA into a start five days after his first child was born amid all the speculation and drama swirling around the impending Zambrano move.

He said it hasn’t been on his mind.

”But you read it,” said Gorzelanny, who, despite a night in which his ”mind and body weren’t working together,” wouldn’t use that as an excuse. ”No, I just didn’t feel right. I just didn’t execute pitches. I tried to do too much. It’s something I can’t take out there each time. I’ve got to worry about what I’m doing that day and what team we’re facing that day, not what could happen down the road.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

Gorzelanny has never been particularly successful out of the bullpen in his career, but that seems unlikely to factor too extensively into the decision at this point. Hopefully Carlos Zambrano has taken this whole episode as a wake-up call, and returns to his pre-2008 form, making all this mishegoss about who leaves the rotation a distant memory.

If the guy is to be Gorzelanny, we should know sooner rather than later, as he’d be unlikely to make another start before moving to the pen – thus, he should be available out of the pen this weekend if he’s moving.

  • jstraw

    I’m a little stunned that Sloth said that out loud. It doesn’t do his cause, his team or his bosses any good at all. Very stupid. He’s also wrong. He’s beginning to return to form and I suspect (read HOPE) Hendry is working the phones for solid right handed relief in trade for him. His trade value has peaked. The time is now.

  • Kenny

    Ok I just have one thing about this whole this guy and that guy in and out of the bullpen thing going on. Why not just go with a 6-man rotation? We have an overabundance of quality starters…awesome predicament to have. But why not just have a 6th starter giving everyone one extra day off which will probably be needed before everyone breaks down..knowing Cubs pitchers. I realize that means we are 1 short in the pen but how about making a quality trade..cough Zambrano cough…or send down someone useless like oh I don’t Jeff Baker or Ramirez( or just put him on the DL). At least until we can figure out whats going on with the pen or a viable trade appears. Oh and I do not like the Cashner to the bullpen move, especially since he has been pitching so well, were going to need quality young starters real soon, Lilly,Dempster are aging and Z is just not consistent. Cubs management needs to stop doing this stuff to our ptchers just let them develop instead of going into critical during a season.

    Ugh glad thats off my chest lol.

  • Jeff

    ”But do I think I deserve to be put in the pen? No, I don’t.”

    There is a problem here if this is the line of thinking he has going into the bullpen. It’s not that he deserves to go, it’s what management thinks is going to help the team the most. I think if any gm in baseball had to choose right now, they would put Zambrano in their rotation over Gorzelanny. I like that he wants to start but him going into a bullpen role with the attitude that he’s being punished and doesn’t want to be there is nothing but bad news for the Cubs.

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